The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vols. IV: American
Avarice and Generosity
By Finley Peter Dunne (18671936)
From Observations of Mr. Dooley
I NEVER blame a man fr bein avaricyous in his ol age. Whin a fellow gits so he has nawthin else to injye, whin ivrybody calls him sir or mister, an young people dodge him an he sleeps afther dinner, an folks say hes an ol fool if he wears a buttonhole bokay, an his teeth is only tinants at will an not permanent fixtures, tis no more thin nachral that he shud begin to look around fr a way iv keepin a grip on human sciety. It dont take him long to see that th ony thing thats vinrable in age is money, an he pro-ceeds to acquire anything that happens to be in sight, takin it where he can find it, not where he wants it, which is th way to accumylate a fortune. Money wont prolong life, but a few millyons judicyously placed in good banks an occasnally worn on the person will rayjooce age. Poor ol men are always older thin poor rich men. In th almshouse a man is decrepit an mournful-lookin at sixty, but a millyonaire at sixty is jus in th prime iv life to a friendly eye, an there are no others.
Its aisier to th ol to grow rich thin it is to th young. At makin money a man iv sixty is miles ahead iv a la-ad iv twinty-five. Pollytics and bankin is th ony two games where age has the best iv it. Youth has betther things to attind to, an more iv thim. I dont blame a man fr bein stingy anny more thin I blame him fr havin a bad leg. Ye know th doctors say that if ye dont use wan iv yeer limbs fr a year or so ye can niver use it again. So it is with ginrosity. A man starts arly in life not bein ginrous. He says to himsilf, I wurruked fr this thing an if I give it away I lose it. He ties up his ginrosity in bandages so that th blood cant circylate in it. It gets to be a superstition with him that hell have bad luck if he iver does annything fr annybody. An so he rakes in an puts his private mark with his teeth on all th movable money in th wurruld. But th day comes whin he sees people around him gettin a good dale iv injyemint out iv ginrosity, an somewan says: Why dont ye, too, be gin-rous? Come, ol green goods, unbelt, loosen up, be gin-rous. Ginrous? says he. Whats that? Its th best spoort in th wurruld. Its givin things to people. But I cant, he says. I havent annything to do it with, he says. I dont know th game. I havent anny ginrosity, he says. But ye have, says they. Ye have as much ginrosity as anny wan if yell only use it, says they. Take it out iv th plasther cast ye put it in an twill look as good as new, says they. An he does it. He thries to use his ginrosity but all th life is out iv it. It gives way undher him an he falls down. He cant raise it frm th ground. Its ossyfied an useless. Ive seen manny a fellow that suffered frm ossyfied ginrosity.
Whin a man begins makin money in his youth at annything but games iv chance he niver can become ginrous late in life. He may make a bluff at it. Some men are ginrous with a crutch. Some men get the use of their ginrosity back suddenly whin they ar-re in danger. Whin Clancy the miser was caught in a fire in th Halsted Sthreet Palace Hotel he howled frm a window: Ill give twinty dollars to anny wan thatll take me down. Capn Minehan put up a laddher an climbed to him an carrid him to th sthreet. Half-way down th laddher th brave rayscooer was seen to be chokin his helpless burdhen. We discovered aftherward that Clancy had thried to begin negotyations to rayjooce th reward to five dollars. His ginrosity had become suddenly parlyzed again.
So if yed stay ginrous to th end, niver lave yeer ginrosity idle too long. Dont run it ivry hour at th top ov its speed, but frm day to day give it a little gintle exercise to keep it supple an hearty an in due time ye may injye it.